September 20, 2011 08:00 ET

Canada Poised to Become Global Leader in Sustainable Energy Resource Development

Deloitte Unveils Top Trends Facing Companies in Canada's Oil Sands

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 20, 2011) - Debate around the environmental viability of Canada's oil sands and the future direction of the industry has continued in full swing in recent months. At the same time, a new report by Deloitte suggests that Canada has never been better positioned to emerge as the world leader in responsible and sustainable energy resource development and corresponding technology advances.

According to the report, Gaining Ground in the Sands 2012, the opportunity at hand is considerable: Canada is poised to do for global hydrocarbon-based energy development what Germany has done for the renewable energy research and development (R&D) and manufacturing sectors.

"The fundamentals for Canada to forge a global leadership role in sustainable energy resource development are there," says Chris Lee, leader of Deloitte Canada's national Energy & Resources practice. "No other jurisdiction in the world with this magnitude of resource potential has anywhere near Canada's combination of political stability, advanced education, technical prowess, and ongoing improvements in developing the oil sands with an increasingly minimal environmental impact."

"But achieving 'energy superpower' status will be earned by taking the initiative to act on our potential," continues Lee. "This country has the capacity to be a global innovation leader in sustainable technology and practices, however, industry heads must step up to the plate before our moment passes."

The report also states that renewed calls for a comprehensive national energy strategy, like those that emerged during the CAPP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) Dialogues engagements and the Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference in July 2011, are "timely and appropriate," explaining that realizing Canada's potential requires vision and political will. According to Deloitte, unlike the "adversarial energy programs of the 1980s," such a strategy would not only set an overall policy direction for developing all types of energy, but also exemplify the quality and depth of leadership that industry and government together need to provide.

Canada must gain access to new markets to achieve and maintain a global leadership

According to Deloitte, a very real risk Canada faces is in becoming an energy superpower—only on paper. As the report explains, "Unless access to existing and new markets becomes available over the next 5 to 10 years, the reality is that much of our growth potential will be shut in along with the bitumen itself. And the loss is more than simply one of revenues and standards of living: remove or frustrate market opportunity, and the wherewithal to plan for an independent, prosperous and sustainable Canadian society falls increasingly into uncertainty."

"It's difficult to self-proclaim to be an energy superpower when we can serve only two markets—our own Canadian market and the U.S.," explains Lee. "Australia, for example, has benefited hugely from filling the bill on the materials side. Canada needs to take its rightful place on the energy side where international markets are concerned."

The top issues facing the oil sands sector

Deloitte's report captures these key trends as they will affect the industry across the short, medium, and long-term in three key areas, including: The people equation, New thinking new approaches and Going to the next level. The trends are further broken down to include:

  1. Demographic transformation — hiring and rewarding Generation Y
  2. Labour logistics
  3. The spirit of automation
  4. The NOC wildcard
  5. Identify and focus on core competencies — and outsource the rest
  6. Internal rigour around operational excellence
  7. Improved accountability
  8. Adopting models from other sectors
  9. Enhanced collaboration
  10. Locating the public perception reset button

For a more detailed discussion of the top issues facing the Canadian oil sands sector, the full report is available at

About Deloitte

Deloitte, one of Canada's leading professional services firms, provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through more than 7,600 people in 57 offices. Deloitte operates in Québec as Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche s.e.n.c.r.l. Deloitte & Touche LLP, an Ontario Limited Liability Partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

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